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Inland Revenue Dept receives 4,831 returned cheques!

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The Inland Revenue Department had received 4,831 return cheques worth of Rs.2.4 billion (2,488,003,615 rupees) as of June 30, out of which 3,817 cheques were more than 3 years old, it was revealed during a recent Committee on Public Accounts (COPA) hearing.

It has also been revealed that the value of those three-year-old cheques is Rs.1,429,356,750.

This was disclosed when the Inland Revenue Department was summoned before COPA on the day before yesterday (28) under the Chairmanship of MP Kabir Hashim to review the progress of implementing recommendations given by COPA held on March 24, 2021 and look into whether the Department is capable of achieving the tax revenue proposed in the 2023 Budget.

The committee questioned the lack of legal action in this regard and the officers present stated that their department does not have the authority to take legal action. The Chairman of COPA pointed out that this is a criminal offence and the necessary legal proceedings in this regard should be implemented soon.

The Chairman of the COPA recommended that a report be given to the Committee within a month regarding the legal action taken in this regard after consultation with the Attorney General’s Department.

The COPA revealed that the total arrears of taxes, penalties and interest due to the Inland Revenue Department as at June 30, 2022 is Rs. 773,957,856,618 (Rs.773 billion).

It was disclosed that an amount of Rs. 201,400,855,198 (Rs.201 billion) has been identified as income that can be collected without any legal concern and that Rs. 572,557,001,420 (Rs.572 billion) has been identified as income that has been temporarily suspended due to certain reasons.

It was also pointed out by the Auditor General that this amount has been identified as the total arrears of tax to be collected under both the RAMIS and Legacy systems. Furthermore, there was a long discussion about the failure to collect 201 billion rupees which is available as revenue from this tax arrears.

Accordingly, the present officials pointed out that recovery of this money on an installment basis has already started.

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What we need now is national harmony not racist struggles – Karu (Pics)

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Former Speaker and renowned politician, Mr. Karu Jayasuriya received the “Sri Lankabhimanya” Honorary Award, at a ceremony held at the President’s House in Colombo under the patronage of President Ranil Wickremesinghe, this morning (03).

This honour was bestowed on Mr. Karu Jayasuriya in recognition of the services rendered to the country by him.

Mr. Karu Jayasuriya was presented with the medal and award by President Ranil Wickremesinghe.

During the ceremony, Mr. Karu Jayasuriya presented the President with a commemorative book containing a collection of photographs, a retrospective of his life’s journey.

This event was organized in line with the 75th Anniversary of Independence.

The once-in-a-lifetime “Sri Lankabhimanya” Honorary Award is the highest national award given by the Government of Sri Lanka to a Sri Lankan citizen or non-Sri Lankan individual.

Only five Sri Lankans can hold this honor at the same time, which means that if five recipients of the award are alive, the award cannot be given to a sixth person. However, the award can also be given posthumously.

The award was presented most recently in 2017 to W.D. Amaradeva for his contribution to the Sri Lankan music industry. In addition, the Sri Lankabhimanya award was also bestowed on former presidents Ranasinghe Premadasa and D.B. Wijetunga, scientist Arthur C. Clarke, Laxman Kadirgamar, A.T. Ariyaratne, Lester James Peiris and Christopher Weeramantri.

Addressing the ceremony, Mr. Jayasuriya said that what should be done at this point of time is not the struggle of racism, but to work to create national harmony.

He also requested all parties and opposition parties to join hands to ensure that the next generation would be handed over the country after having rectified the shortcomings that have occurred over the past 75 years.

Mr Jayasuriya also pointed out that in his political career, he had never criticized or offended anyone and neither has he ever engaged in any illegal activities.

He said that as a result of an effort to create a new political culture, on the advice of the Ven. Omalpe Sobitha Thera, he had dedicated his political career for justice and fairness and this National Award is a tribute to the policies he followed.

Mr. Jayasuriya recalled that he entered politics on the invitation of the current President Ranil Wickremesinghe after he became the leader of the United National Party and said that he is happy to work in close contact with the people.

He also stated that during his tenure as the Mayor, he was able to create a new culture in the Colombo Municipal Council and its success was even recognized internationally.

Prime Minister Dinesh Gunawardena, Speaker Mahinda Yapa Abeywardena, Former President Chandrika Bandaranaike Kumaratunga, Former Speaker Chamal Rajapaksa, Secretary to the President Mr Saman Ekanayake, Presidential Senior Adviser on National Security and Chief of Presidential Staff Mr Sagala Ratnayake, Government and Opposition Ministers and Mr. Karu Jayasuriya’s family members participated in this event.

(Pics : President’s Media Division)

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No COVID-19 deaths yesterday

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No COVID-19 deaths have been confirmed yesterday (02) by the Director-General of Health Services.

Accordingly, the current COVID-19 death toll remains at 16,828.

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Govt. policy statement to be debated next week

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The government policy statement by President Ranil Wickremesinghe, which will be presented on the 08th of this month, will be taken up for debate on the 9th and the 10th of February.

Secretary General of Parliament Dhammika Dassanayake said the decision was reached at the party leaders meeting held today (3) under the patronage of Speaker Mahinda Yapa Abeywardana.

Accordingly, Parliament will convene on the 09th at 9.30am while the regulations under the Welfare Benefits Act and 51 motions regarding the annual reports of various statutory institutions will be taken up.

Thereafter, the adjournment debate on the government policy statement presented by the President will be debated till 5pm.

The debate on the government policy statement will continue for a second day on the 10th of February from 9.30 am to 5pm.

Prime Minister Dinesh Gunawardena, Deputy Speaker Ajith Rajapakse, Leader of the House Minister Susil Premajayantha, Chief Government Whip Minister Prasanna Ranatunga and party leaders were present at the meeting.

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